How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In An Empty House? (Read To know!)

 Bed bugs are disgusting blood-sucking insects! And although these smelly invaders are not known to spread diseases, their mere presence is annoying, causing psychological distress, anxiety, social withdrawal, and even nightmares! 

Once bed bugs invade your home, they reproduce exceptionally quickly. A female bed bug can lay up to 1-7 eggs per day for the next 10 days after a blood meal. She will have to feed on blood again after this period in order to lay more eggs. The eggs will hatch in only 6-10 days, which means that you will have a full-blown infestation within a few weeks or months. 

Bed bugs feed on human and animal blood. They survive by living close to a host. But what if they infest an empty house? Or perhaps you are tempted to vacate and let them die off on their own. And now you're wondering, how long can bed bugs live in an empty house? 

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How Long Can Bed Bugs Live In An Empty House? 

Bed bugs require blood to live. But they are such a hardy pest and can survive up to 1-18 months without feeding. Nymphs can survive for nearly 90 days without a blood meal, while adult bed bugs can survive much longer without feeding on a host. 

How long can bed bugs live in an empty house is primarily determined by two factors____ temperature and humidity. 

Bed bugs are resilient and can hibernate when temperatures become unfavorable, allowing them to live for more than a year without feeding. However, if the temperatures are freezing or extremely hot, bed bugs will not survive and can die in as little as 20 days. 

But note that there are numerous bed bug species, each of which has a varying life span. Generally, bed bugs can live between 8-18 months, provided they are regularly feeding. And in case your empty house has an active pest infestation from rats and mice, the bugs will have an adequate food/blood source. 

So, it's a bit challenging to determine precisely how long bed bugs can live in an empty house.  But there's a good chance that if you leave your 'pest-free' house vacant for more than a year, you will find the bed bugs dead by the time you return. 

Let's look at all the factors that determine how long can bed bugs live in an empty house.

Factors Determining How Long Bed Bugs Can Live In An Empty House 

The Bed Bugs' Life Stage

Generally, bed bugs have two main stages of growth, the nymph, and the adult stage. 

A nymph bed bug must feed on a blood meal to molt into the next instar. Should the newly developed instar feed on blood within the first 24 hours of molting, it will develop into the next life stage within 5-8 days. However, if the nymph lacks access to a host, it will remain in its current life stage until it finds a blood meal or dies.  

Nymphs can survive for a maximum of two months without a single blood meal. But if the nymph had already fed on blood at least once after being hatched, it can live up to 8 months without needing another blood meal. 

Comparably, adult bed bugs are extremely hardy! These cryptic pests can live for more than one year (18 months) without a single blood meal.

So if you're thinking of staying at your friend's for a week or two to starve the bed bugs to death, you need to make a change of plans. 

So if you're thinking of staying at your friend's for a week or two to starve the bed bugs to death, you need to make a change of plans. 

Temperature And Humidity 

How long can bed bugs live in an empty house is greatly determined by the temperature in the house. Under favorable conditions such as optimal indoor room temperatures, bed bugs can survive in an empty house for many months. 

But if the temperatures in the vacant house remain too warm or too cold and at the same time the bed bugs don't get a blood meal, they are likely to die within a few weeks. 

According to an earlier study, bed bugs can survive in a room with low temperatures of 25°F for only a few days. Hence, a homeowner living in a place where temperatures go below 25 °F for an extended period can vacate for one month or even 3 weeks, and their bed bug problem will be gone. 

In the same breath, if the temperatures in your house constantly reach 113°F and remain that high for at least 7 days, the bed bugs won't survive and will soon die. 

But please note that bed bugs are pretty cryptic and can hide in the tiniest cracks and crevices to keep warm and avoid freezing to death. 

As it turns out, bed bugs are quite hard to get rid of on your own. Only the most extreme and unfavorable indoor conditions can kill them completely____ and that's only if they dont find a way around it. Quite often, you will need to seek help from professional pest control experts to exterminate bed bugs completely. 

Exactly How Long Can Bed Bugs Survive Without Human Blood? 

The biggest secret behind bed bugs' survival tactics is their ability to enter a hibernation-like state or go semi-dormant. 

These little suckers will slow down their metabolism during hibernation, requiring very little energy to stay alive. But without any access to human or animal blood meal, bed bugs will eventually die! 

Under optimal temperature and humidity conditions, but with absolutely no host to draw blood from, baby bed bugs will die within a few weeks. On the other hand, adults can survive for one and a half years without human or animal blood. 

Bed bug bodies need the humidity supplied by a blood meal to survive. They will utilize all the available humidity and finally die of drying out and starvation with time. 

And although bed bugs would rather have human blood on their menu, they can also feed on other pests like rodents, animals, and pets within the house. So, even without a human blood meal, bed bugs can survive for much longer by feeding on other animals. 

Where Do Bed Bugs Hide In An Empty House? 

Typically, bed bugs tend to gravitate towards inactive people or those resting long enough for them to draw a blood meal. Research reveals that they only hide a short distance from their blood source. This means that bed bugs will commonly hide 5-20 feet away from your bed, couch, and other furniture. But what if the house is empty and without a host? 

In an entirely vacant house, bed bugs can semi-hibernate in the cracks between hardwood flooring or hide between the crevices in walls. They can also sneak into the small gaps between electrical appliances, electrical outlets, light switch sockets, and the corners where the wall meets the ceiling.

That's why it's pretty necessary that you contact a pest control company near me to exterminate bed bugs entirely from your vacant house. DIY bed bug control is often ineffective as the pesky bugs will find a good hiding spot where your treatment can't reach. 

How To Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs With You When Moving

Homeowners almost always lose a war against bed bugs! That's because they are extremely small, very tenacious, and difficult to kill. 

In addition, these little suckers are perfect hitchhikers. This means that they can hitch a ride in clothes and luggage to your new destination, which beats the point of vacating your house. The goal is to leave the bugs in the empty house to starve to death. 

Hence, it's extremely vital that you don't bring even a single bed bug along with you. Consider the following precautions to ensure no bugs move with you. 

Wash Clothes And Other Fabrics In Hot Water

Bed bugs easily reside in the clothes and fabric stored in your drawers. Hence, you'll have to wash the clothes in hot water to kill the bugs before packing them. 

Ensure Bed Bugs Are Not Hiding In Your Suitcases And Bags 

There's a real chance that bed bugs have crawled into your suitcase and bags, especially if they were stored in your bedroom. Therefore, you want to inspect your bags thoroughly before you can start packing your items in them. 

Ensure No Bugs Are Hiding In Your Pets Fur

While it's pretty unlikely that bed bugs hide in your pet's fur, it's not impossible. Perhaps the best hiding spot for bed bugs is in your pet's leash or collar. Therefore, it is a good idea to bathe your pet, clean its bed, collar, and other items that belong to it. 

Contact A Pest Exterminator To Treat Your Furniture

Perhaps you want to bring your furniture to your new location? In that case, the safest thing to do is have a professional pest controller treat all your furniture to exterminate bed bugs completely and ensure no bugs are hiding in the tiny cracks. 

Conclusion

Bed bugs are hardy and resilient pests, meaning that they can be extremely hard to kill by just vacating your house. Besides, vacating your house for more than a year sounds pretty extreme. And though the bed bugs will eventually die, the most effective thing to do is have a pest expert treat and get rid of bed bugs completely from your house! 
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